At the beginning of the 111th Congress, we faced the most serious economic and financial crisis of any since the Great Depression. Fear was widespread and confidence was scarce. Our economy was in free fall with no apparent limit on how much worse things could get.
Yet, we have traveled a remarkable distance over the past several months in pulling our economy back from the brink of economic catastrophe. The wide-ranging efforts taken by the Democrat-led Congress -- implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, restoring confidence in the financial system, providing assistance for responsible homeowners and pressing to get credit flowing to small businesses -- have helped pull the economy out of a collapse, and have put us on a path toward a sustained economic recovery. While we still have a long way go, we are far closer to that recovery today than we were in January 2009.
While avoiding catastrophe and restoring a sound macroeconomic policy framework are necessary for the confidence on which economic recovery depends, they are not sufficient. In order to avoid the boom-and-bust cycle of the past several years, our economy must be rebuilt on firmer foundations. Job creation, an investment in renewable energy and a reform of our broken health care system are long term solutions that will lay the groundwork for a new foundation for our economy for years to come.